Humans must take action if our species is to survive

HS2 protesters at Euston Station

HS2 protesters at Euston Station - Credit: Dorothea Hackman

When the Euston Tree Protectors camp was established on August 28, 2020, High Speed 2 (HS2) wanted Euston Square Gardens East for their temporary taxi parking area in September.

At the HS2 tree panel we had won a reprieve for the two largest trees, in the north and east, and the House of Lords had told them to leave the trees along the south, Euston Road side, but they planned to fell the trees in the west and the middle.

Aside from hurting our community by destroying our trees and green spaces, HS2 is a terrible idea because of environmental damage all the way up the line – 108 ancient woodlands and a major aquifer and carbon emissions from construction that will take over a century to compensate. There are far more important regional railway improvements in the north to undertake, that will not saddle future generations with debt for developers profit. This needs re-evaluation for a post-Covid-19 world.

Dorothea Hackman, Camden Civic Society

Dorothea Hackman says we must take prompt action if our species is to survive the rising waters of melting glaciers and polar ice - Credit: Dorothea Hackman

The Tree Protectors won our trees five more months of life, as HS2 postponed until February. The black-shirted National Eviction Team (NET) came at the end of January. Twenty-five of these amazing young people shot up the tree platforms and into the roof towers, at the mercy of the cherry picker machines. But it was the nine “Bradleys” who went down the tunnels who grabbed the media attention and won us another month. It is really hard to believe that HS2, overlooking the square from their offices, did not notice the tunnels being built. We need to keep an eye on NET and HS2 that they leave us the two big trees.

It’s not just Euston that has a problem, because the planet will survive climate change, just as it has asteroids and volcanoes. It is humans who now must take prompt action if our species is to survive the rising waters of melting glaciers and polar ice. Flood and famine for billions of us will be a catastrophic certainty by the next decade if the average temperature continues to rise and our government just carries on building carbon emitting incinerators and high speed railways.

PS: Let me also remember Aileen Hammond, a member of the Camden Civic Society Committee, who has died this month. She worked to make Camden a better place to live, as did indeed Ivor Kamlish who died last year. We have been fortunate in our committee members, and welcome newcomers.

  • Dorothea Hackman is chair of Camden Civic Society.